EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Resigns in the face of ethics issues

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Resigns in the face of ethics issues

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Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency who was
 key to implementing President Trump’s conservative agenda but came 
under intense scrutiny for a series of questionable ethical decisions, 
resigned Thursday, July 5 afternoon. Pruitt’s deputy at the EPA, Andrew 
Wheeler, will serve as the agency’s acting administrator starting 
Monday, President Trump said in a tweet.

“I have no
 doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA 
agenda,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “We have made tremendous progress and the 
future of the EPA is very bright!” 

Donald J. Trump


 I have 
accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an 
outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will…

3:37 PM – Jul 5, 2018

Pruitt had been the subject of a 
seemingly endless deluge of stories about his behavior and spending 
practices. It began earlier this year when it was revealed that Pruitt 
had rented a room at a favorable rate from a well-connected energy 
lobbyist. Pruitt’s lavish spending on his own security then came under 
scrutiny, as did his decision to install a $43,00 private phone booth in
 his office. There were also allegations that Pruitt had created a toxic
 professional atmosphere at the EPA that penalized his critics.

Pruitt said his decision to leave the EPA was a hard one in his resignation letter to Mr. Trump.

“It is extremely difficult for me to 
cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be
 serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative 
work that is occurring,” Pruitt wrote. “However, the unrelenting attacks
 on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable
 toll on all of us.”

Mr. Trump defended Pruitt Thursday 
evening while speaking to reporters on Air Force One. He said there was 
“no final straw” and that he had not requested Pruitt’s resignation.

“Scott Pruitt did an outstanding job 
inside of the EPA,” the president said. “We’ve gotten rid of record 
breaking regulations and it’s been really. You know, obviously, the 
controversies with Scott — but within the agency we were extremely 
happy. His deputy has been with me actually a long time. He was very 
much an early Trump supporter. He was with us on the campaign. He is a 
very environmental person. He’s a big believer, and he’s going to do a 
fantastic job.”

The government had launched numerous 
investigations and probes into Pruitt’s behavior, although he continued 
to insist that he had done nothing wrong. At the time of Pruitt’s 
resignation, the EPA inspector general was looking into his protective 
service detail, his traveling at taxpayer expense, and the allegedly 
excessive raises he gave to some members of his staff. Swamped by 
requests and stretched thin by the sheer number of audits into Pruitt, 
the EPA inspector general had also agreed to look into his housing 
arrangements and allegations that he had staff members perform his 
personal errands, among other issues.


Pruitt is the fifth member of Mr. 
Trump’s cabinet to resign or be fired since he took office. The others 
were former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former Health and Human
 Services secretary Tom Price, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, 
and former Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin.


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